…..my children paid for my ticket
A Zamfara State pilgrim in this year’s Hajj, Aisha Nahuche, shares her thoughts on how she found and returned the sum of $8,000 to the owner in Saudi Arabia
Where are you from?
I am an indigene of Nahuche village in the Bungudu Local Government Area of Zamfara State. My name is Aisha Nahuche
How old are you?
I am 58 years old.
Are you married?
Yes, I am married.
How many children do you have?
I have seven children.
What was your experience like in the Holy Land of Mecca?
It was my first time to go to the Holy Land and as such, I saw a lot of things during the Hajj. One of the things I experienced during the Hajj was that we went through tough times due to the change in the weather. The weather was too harsh. The heat was too much. Some people died as a result of the excessive heat.
Another thing I experienced was the type of food we ate while in the holy land. Their food is quite different from ours here in Nigeria. I had to force myself to eat their food because there was no alternative. I experienced a lot of things like seeing different types of people from all over the world.
You found some money in foreign currency while performing this year’s Hajj. Can you explain how much the amount was?
The money in question was in a purse and it was lost by its owner in the Holy Mosque of Mecca. I came across the money when I was going around the Holy Kaaba as part of Hajj activities. I didn’t know what was in the purse until I returned to my hotel room. Immediately I opened the purse, I saw some money in dollars and I quickly closed the purse and went direct to Sheikh Ahmed Kanoma who is a prominent Islamic scholar in Zamfara State.
Sheikh Kanoma in the company of other government delegations opened the purse and counted the money inside and discovered the sum of $8,000. I begged them to look for the owner of the money. After some days, the owner of the money who is from one of the Arabic countries was found and when he mentioned the amount in the purse and where he lost it, the money was handed over to him. He counted the money and discovered that it was intact. The man who had lost hope was surprised to see his money given back to him.
You returned the money without taking anything from it. What informed your decision to return the money?
You see, I was in the Holy land of Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj which is the five pillars of Islam. I was there to seek the blessings of Allah. So, if I had refused to return the money to the owner, do you think Allah will be pleased with me? I am also sure that Allah will surely ask me about this money in the world hereafter. This could also lead me to hellfire. So, that explains why I decided to return the money to the owner when I found it. I returned the money to avoid the wrath of Allah.
How do you feel now that your name has been mentioned in the media and the whole world is praising you?
I was not aware that this issue has been publicised and that my name had gone to the media until I returned home from the holy land. Many people have been trooping to my house to praise me for what they heard in the media. I feel highly elated.
If you were not in Mecca, the holy land, would you have returned the money to the owner?
Why not? I did not become a God-fearing person as a result of my going to Hajj. I am telling you that this has been my personal life. I hate taking anything that does not belong to me. I hate Haram (something that is forbidden) because I know that God has warned us several times in the Holy Quran that we should desist from eating Haram. So, that was why when I came across that money while performing the Hajj, I tried to find the owner and give him his money.
How did your husband feel about your action?
My husband was very happy when the news came to him that I found some money in Mecca and returned it to the owner. He was happy with me.
Did some people mock you for returning such a huge amount of money to the owner?
Nobody mocked me because I returned the money to the owner. I told you earlier that people had been trooping to my house since I returned from Hajj to hail me and commend me for this action. People from far places have been coming to my house just to see me. But I am telling you that nobody has mocked me or blamed me for my action.
While you were in school, did you also experience a situation where you had to return the missing property in the classroom or elsewhere that did not belong to you?
I did not go to a modern or regular school. I only attended a Quranic school.
How are your children learning from your virtues?
I am their role model. I always encourage them to be honest and sincere in all their dealings. This is greatly helping them to be God-fearing. My children are also among the trusted people in my village due to their family upbringing.
Some may say you returned the money because you are rich. How rich are you?
Rich? (Laughs); who said that I am rich? Alhamdulillah, I am rich because I have children who take care of me. But I am telling you that I have never seen N1m in my life, not to speak of being rich. My children were the ones who contributed money and paid for my Hajj seat so that I could perform the Hajj which is one of the five pillars of Islam.
The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria commended you for your action and said you deserved an award. Is the Zamfara State Government or the Federal Government contemplating giving you an award for your excellent behaviour?
I have no idea about this and nobody has approached me about that. However, I heard a rumour that some people are planning to pay for my Hajj seat for next year’s Hajj. This is all I know.
Many in government have stolen huge funds belonging to the masses. What do you think can be done to ensure they return what they stole?
I don’t know anything about government work. But what I know is that, anybody who steals will surely face Allah’s wrath in the world hereafter and may end up in hellfire.
What is your message to Nigerians in general on the need to always return what does not belong to them?
My appeal to all Nigerians is that they should try to understand that there is a day of judgement where everyone will be asked by God to account for his actions. If you do good, no matter how little it is, you will be rewarded by Allah. Also, if you do evil, you may end up in hellfire. So, I want people to always be sincere, honest and trustworthy. If you come across anything that does not belong to you, please, try to find the owner so that you don’t attract the wrath of God.
If you take something that does not belong to you, you will no doubt be asked by God in the world hereafter to return it to its owner. This is where the reward for your good deeds will be reduced and be given to anybody you have cheated and by the time all your good deeds have finished, Allah will still take the bad deeds of those you have cheated and be added to your record and you will end up in hellfire. I am also calling on the general public to always return whatever they have found to the rightful owner and by doing that, God will surely reward those who are sincere and honest.
( Saturday PUNCH)